Capt. Steve Roff of Barrier Island Guide Service reports reporting bumper catches of fish in a variety of sizes, from those barely keepers to gator-sized beasts pushing six pounds.
"It's a good way to shake the winter blues with a speckled trout on the end of the line," said Roff. "If the weather holds out and stays mild, they will continue to bite well through the winter."
The saltwater estuaries between North Inlet and the Santee Delta are producing good fish, as well as the brackish waters towards US 17.
"We're catching a lot of trout up the river some eight miles from the ocean," said Roff (843-446-7337). "It's a little more sheltered, with good, deep water and fewer predators."
The cooler weather has congregated trout in deeper holes – or at least closer to deep water. Roff is finding fish along channel edges or current breaks with good shell or hard bottoms.
"They will be stacked in small areas. Get the lure down to their depth and they will eat," he said. "Fish slow and always be in good physical contact with the bait at any depth and watch out for that subtle pick-up. It could be a 5-pounder!"
He prefers working big, suspending baits with some shine, such as MirrOlures or Yo-Zuri lures.
"Make if flutter with a sharp snap, followed by a long pause," he said. "It looks like a stunned mullet and deadly for a wintertime trout."